GREEN BAY, Wis. — Chris Long still remembers the first time he ever stepped foot onto an NFL field.
"It was like cars moving by you on a highway," the 32-year-old vet said late Thursday night. "That's what it felt like to me. It was fast."
It didn't look quite that fast for Derek Barnett.
The first sack came with just under seven minutes to play in the second quarter. Barnett used a counter move and powered through Packers second-team left tackle Jason Spriggs, simply tossing him out of the way.
Spriggs is 6-foot-6, 301 pounds.
"It was nice to get one, honestly," Barnett said. "Anyway I can get there, it's nice to get there. Because [sacks are] so hard to come by."
The buzz around Barnett coming out of Tennessee was about his incredible bend and speed pass rushing. During this training camp, however, he's been working hard to develop inside pass-rushing moves.
That hard work paid off when he dropped Brett Hundley for an eight-yard loss.
"It's a great thing to add to your arsenal," Long said. "For somebody like that, people are going to have to worry about his speed, it's just something that he's going to have to develop. Tonight was a big step."
A few minutes later, Barnett went to his bread and butter for his second sack. He sped around the edge to drop Hundley for a 12-yard loss.
"I knew coming in they do quick game and stuff, so our coaches told us just keep on pushing, don't get down because the ball can come out quick," Barnett said. "Keep on grinding and eventually, you're going to get some."
By the end of the game, Barnett had put together an impressive stat line: two sacks, four combined tackles, two QB hits and two tackles for loss.
Barnett is one of three defensive ends on the team who were drafted in the first round. Long was the second pick in 2008; you already heard about his NFL debut. And Brandon Graham was the 13th pick in 2010.
"I think what he did was what I wanted to do — get two sacks in the first game," Graham said. "And that's nice just to start it off right. It just feels good because he got a couple and it's going to carry over. He got a little bit of what the game speed is like."
Aside from facing Spriggs, Barnett also got a series against Packers Pro Bowl left tackle David Bakhtiari and held his own. Barnett said practicing against Jason Peters and Lane Johnson daily helped prepare him for Bakhtiari.
"I thought [Barnett] really stepped up, and once he got his legs under him, he played well," head coach Doug Pederson said. "He played hard and it was exciting to see him around the quarterback."
It's just one game, but Barnett's NFL career got off to a good start on Thursday night.
The cars weren't whizzing by him that fast.
"It's fast. Faster than college," he said. "I just try to take it a snap at a time and just focus on that one snap and that one play. After that, clear to the next play."